Spring Fever: A Melodrama

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Today, it feels like a hot, red, inner tube has been wedged down my throat. My eyes are puffed up like a bro preparing for a bar fight. My head, itself, feels like a giant balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Oh, allergies. 

I have a love-hate relationship with spring time. I'm desperate to leave my nemesis, winter, behind. However, to get to summer I have to traverse through spring, and the hay-fever that comes along for the ride.

Springtime in Seattle's theater community is also general season. Generals are cattle-call style auditions held once a year. As an actor, you have a few minutes to present your best work. Then, the theaters call actors back for specific shows. If you blow your general then the rest of your year, at least at that theater, is toast. 

As a musical theater actor with allergies, this is rather unfortunate. And by "rather unfortunate" I mean friggin' terrible, and inconvenient, and maddening, and depressing, and stressful. 

Yesterday, I had a big, important, fancy theater, general audition. I was also drowning in allergies, and broke no fashion rules.

Are you ready for this? 

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THE EVENT: A big, important, fancy theater, general audition.

THE BROKEN RULE: None.

THE OUTFIT: I planned this outfit in advance, and the lack of broken rules was purposeful. When auditioning, I like to give myself a leg up getting into character, and wear an outfit that is reminiscent of what they'd wear. (For example, with my soldier monologue I wear pants and flat, sturdy boots.) For this audition, I was playing a musical theater actress, so how better to get into character than follow musical audition attire protocol? With that in mind, I wore a dress with a defined waist and those wine-hued velvet heels that I love. I curled my hair. I skipped the red lipstick - while it's very musical-esque, I wasn't feeling it. (I go into more detail about musical theater audition rules here!)

The pinstripe ruffled wrap dress was also fitting for my second piece, as an old-timey prostitute. (There are a plethora of female prostitute roles in musical theater. Take that how you will.)

THE EXPERIENCE: Singing while elbow-deep in allergies is a specific kind of hell. I've sang with colds and sinus infections and bronchitis, but allergies are different. Allergies are unpredictable. Colds are treatable, but with allergies, even while medicated, I'm victim to the weather. Seattle weather is never predictable. 

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Prior to this audition, the temperature had drastically yo-yoed and I felt it. I attempted a positive attitude and all of my singer tricks, but ultimately, it wasn't my best. (To put it lightly.)

And what about the outfit? It became null and void. It wasn't a detriment. I certainly didn't look out of place. It wasn't another item on my stress list. It didn't, however, make my allergies any less real. If anything, once the audition was over, I enjoyed wearing the ensemble more.

THE CONCLUSION: So, what does this all mean? In my past Control Group posts, I've (surprisingly!) enjoyed not breaking rules. This time my rule-following outfit wasn't a liability, but it didn't add to the experience either. To be fair, it's hard to have an impact when up against seriously stressed vocal chords, but is it impossible? Can I learn from this for next time? Can my outfit be of any help in this scenario? I'm not sure.

Have you had similar experiences with rule-following fashion or singing with allergies? I'd love to hear about it! Have tips and tricks to share? Send me those, too!

I'll be back on Sunday, perhaps in a very large hat. In the meantime, come say hi on Instagram!

Until next time. :)

 This is my, "DO YOU SEE THAT CORGI?" face.

This is my, "DO YOU SEE THAT CORGI?" face.

 "DO YOU SEE THAT CORGI?" face, phase two. 

"DO YOU SEE THAT CORGI?" face, phase two.